Being Pregnant During Residency

Pregnancy During Residency

Dec. 30, 2023

The culture of medical training historically has not supported an easy pregnancy experience. But is that culture changing? Can you start your family before you finish residency?  EMRA*Cast host Lizzii Le, MD, talks to Melissa Nelson-Perron, MD, and Paige Reinfeld, DO, of Nuvance Health about the changing way the program approaches residents who are pregnant or planning family during training.


Listen on Google Play Music




Amazon Music



Elizabeth Le, MD

Mercy Health - St. Rita's
EMRA*Cast Episodes


Melissa Nelson-Perron, MD

Associate Program Director, Emergency Medicine Residency
Nuvance Health/Vassar Hospital

Paige Reinfeld, DO

Emergency Medicine Resident
Nuvance Health/Vassar Hospital

Being pregnant during residency may be a somewhat daunting topic. We are so familiar with timelines and feel uncomfortable around change! Dr. Lizzii Le sits down with Dr. Nelson-Perron and Dr. Reinfeld to talk about family planning during residency.


  • Medical students: When you're looking for a residency program, bring up the topic of family planning if that is something you're interested in to gauge if the program is supportive.
  • Talk to your mentor or someone you feel comfortable with about family planning.
  • Hopefully your program is supportive, but if not, make sure you’re aware of guidelines. Get a doctor's note if needed!
  • See if your program will be able to adjust your schedule around night shifts in the first trimester and closer to your due date, as this may lead to adverse effects.
  • You can take 6 weeks of maternity per ABEM at the discretion of your PD.
  • It is OK to not graduate on time. (There are even some hidden benefits!)
  • Ask if your residency will cover a portable breast pump or let you rent one for use on-shift.
  • Try to stay healthy, as much as you can, with adequate food intake, exercise, and sleep to prepare your body to house another human.
  • Separate your home life from your work life. Compartmentalize your time.
  • Offload as much as you can mentally. Order the diapers on subscription.
  • Create a backup to your backup plan – when you're a parent of small children, you will need the life equivalent of a bougie.
  • You are capable of doing it all. But you don't have to do it all at the same time!

Related Content